News / Africa

Prominent Muslim Cleric Killed in Kenya

An influential moderate Muslim preacher, Mohamed Idris, 64, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, was shot dead by gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, June 10, 2014.
An influential moderate Muslim preacher, Mohamed Idris, 64, chairman of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya, was shot dead by gunmen in Mombasa, Kenya, June 10, 2014.
Gunmen shot and killed a prominent Muslim cleric in Mombasa — the fourth religious leader to be killed in the Kenyan city in the past two years.

Police and witnesses say Sheikh Mohamed Idris, chairman of Kenya's Council of Imams and Preachers, was fatally shot in the stomach by unidentified gunmen on motorcycles as he left his house Tuesday to attend morning prayers at a nearby mosque.

The 65-year-old cleric was at the forefront of the fight against radicalization of Muslim youths in the Kenya's coastal region, and radical youths had accused him of working with the state to suppress them.

Investigators say the moderate cleric feared for his life and had been expected to testify in a Mombasa court Wednesday after filing a case against radical youths and the committee running the city's Sakina mosque for wrongful dismissal from his duties.

He had been thrown out of the mosque late last year by angry youths armed with knives. Before that, he led prayers and gave sermons at the mosque for 35 years.

No one has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's attack, which follows a string of recent killings. All three Muslim leaders killed in Mombasa since 2012 were accused of having ties to al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked militant group based in neighboring Somalia.

Kenya has troops in Somalia fighting militants who have retaliated with attacks in Kenya, most notably the assault on Nairobi's Westgate Mall last year in which more than 60 people were killed.

Religious leaders and government officials condemned Tuesday's killing and called on the security agencies to find the killers.

Mombasa City police Commissioner Nelson Marwa said an investigation is underway.

“It will be sustained until the culprits are brought to book," Marwa said. "We want to urge the leaders, we want to urge Mombasa residents and religious leaders to be calm and to give the government a chance to do its work.”

The commissioner also called for witnesses to volunteer information that can help the police to nab the assailants.

Hassan Mohamed Idris, the son of the slain cleric, told reporters that his father lived a private life for the past five months.

“As a family we told our old man it was not nice for the Muslims to fight each other because of you," he said. "Thank God he agreed to our request and went to Likoni to stay in his house and his farm. According to our younger brother he [had] seen unknown people with vehicles driving near the farm that we do not know.”

In an interview with VOA in late May, the slain cleric said young radicals were not happy with his stand that fighting in neighboring Somalia was not jihad, or holy way. He also said the youths tormented him and other officials in the streets by calling them names.

Visiting the family of the slain cleric on Tuesday, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga, who called himself close friend of Sheikh Idris, said it is not normal for so many murders to go unresolved, with police making no arrests.

“We are asking who is carrying out these killings," he said. "Is it a devil waking up one morning and going to fire bullet at people?”

Troubled region

Kenya's coastal region, a tourist hub where most of the country's Muslims live, has also been hit by a series of bomb attacks on churches over the past months blamed on Islamists linked to the Somali militants.

In Mombasa last April, gunmen shot and killed radical cleric Abubaker Shariff Ahmed, also known as Makaburi, near a mosque. He was accused by the United States and United Nations of recruiting fighters and raising money for al-Shabab.

Sheikh Ibrahim Ismael was killed on a road near Mombasa in October 2013. Sheik Aboud Rogo Mohammed was killed in August 2012.

Human rights activists accused Kenyan security forces of killing the radical clerics — an allegation the government has strongly denied.

Previous shootings of clerics have sparked riots, and Sheikh Idris' brother, Ali Idris, urged people not to take the streets to protest.

"We are calling for calm ... we cannot carry out any revenge," Ali Idris said. "God will pay the killers."

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Video Positive Messaging Helps Revamp Ethiopia's Image

In country once connected with war, poverty, famine, headlines now focus on fast-growing economy, diplomatic reputation More

Russian Activist Thinks Kremlin Ordered Nemtsov's Death

Alexei Navalny says comments of Russian liberals who think government wasn't involved are 'nonsense.' More

Video Land Disputes Rise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Fortunatus F Mkesha from: Kigoma,Tanzania
June 16, 2014 2:51 AM
very very,, wonderful and painful to all people from Kenya, Africa and Warld, actually those big national should find altenatives to, know all people that sponsoring that Al-Shabab, its real painful, we need major and strong power to fight against Those killers, thanks.

by: kalimullah from: pakistan gilgit baltistan
June 10, 2014 1:21 PM
poor peopels ecnomic killing in musalim countaries is bad to 911 with all war world war
.we are daily killing in pakistan .rich man is havy if we ask pakistani govt are army these peopels high jack all pakistan man woman grils and childaran

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Imagei
X
Marthe van der Wolf
March 03, 2015 9:03 PM
Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.
Video

Video Land Disputes Arise Amid Uganda Oil Boom

Ugandan police say there has been a sharp increase in land disputes, with 10 new cases being reported each day. The claims come amid an oil boom as investors appear to be cashing in by selling parcels of land to multiple buyers. Meanwhile, the people who have been living on the land for decades are chased away, sometimes with a heavy hand. VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
Video

Video In Russia, Many Doubt Opposition Leader's Killer Will Be Found

The funeral has been held in Moscow for Boris Nemtsov, the opposition leader who was assassinated late Friday just meters from the Kremlin. Nemtsov joins a growing list of outspoken critics of Russia under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin who are believed to have been murdered for their work. VOA’s Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Simulated Astronauts Get Taste of Mars, in Hawaii

For generations, people have dreamed of traveling to Mars to explore Earth's closest planetary neighbor. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports that while space agencies like NASA are planning manned missions to the planet, some volunteers in Hawaii are learning how humans will cope with months in isolation on a Mars base.
Video

Video Destruction of Iraq Artifacts Shocks Archaeologists

The city of Mosul was once one of the most culturally rich and religiously diverse cities in Iraq. That tradition is under attack by members of the Islamic State who have made Mosul their capital city. The Mosul Museum is the latest target of the group’s campaign of terror and destruction, and is of grave concern to archaeologists around the world. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More